Last Sunday me and my fellow "Mules" decided to push our riding endurance to a new level in our attempt to ready our selves for the "Hotter than Hell 100" later in the year.
Our route took us from a suburban neighborhood on the outskirts of Houston to the rural town of Bellville in Austin County and back, a total distance of 108 Miles. It was a perfect start as we left Houston at 06:30 under clear skies with a slight head wind that steadily increased during the course of the morning. By the 30 Mile marker we were were averaging 20mph but that soon changed as our scheduled water stop at a familiar "Taco Shack" was closed and we had to endure the last 23 miles into Bellville in a highly dehydrated state, knocking our average down to 19mph. (we did not make the same mistake on the home leg)
Left to Right:
Kenny "5 Hour Energy" Rhame
Myself - Holding the commemorative Poppy
David "Waffles" Hill
Apart from the incentive of one of the "Hills" famous hamburgers I asked my fellow riders "The Mules" to consider the ride a Memorial one, and to carry pictures or mementos of people they wanted to remember or honour in our cycling effort.
Mine was an easy one as I carefully wrapped up:
- The last picture taken of my father and me just before he died of cancer a couple of years ago. (L-R Paddy,Dad, Andy, Phil)
- A WW1 "Great War" Medal of my Great Grandfather
- Poppy Commemorative Cross from Westminster Abbey
He served his country well as a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force, and made a real commitment to follow his dreams and goals and live life to the fullest.
He bravely completed two transatlantic crossings with his wife Sue in a small 36' yacht, competed in the World Masters Laser competitions all around the world, and loved to spend as much time on a bike as possible.
Spending time around bikes became a great retirement challenge for him and he always encouraged us to take up the sport.
It certainly rubbed off on all of us!
Both Phil and I are avid cyclists and our younger brother Andy owns a bike store "Cycleheaven" in York where he actively campaigns and promotes safe cycling.
Our step sister Sare keeps us in check with her own fantastic cycling endeavours in South Africa and in so many ways cycling has brought us all together. We miss you Dad!!!
Its my goal to complete 100 miles every Memorial day to keep our loved ones Memories alive and to remember those who have sacrificed theirs.